Though there are examples of previous stoplight stylings, such as the short Olive posts with their Ruleta signals (a few of those can still be found in Central Park, and when I began FNY there were a few samples still hanging around local streets) …
… variances from the thick-shafted, guy wire masted heavy-duty main intersection NYC traffic light are few and far between. Though they first start cropping up in photos from the late 1950s, I have very little information on these as far as the manufacturer or anything else. They replaced the “Wheelie” castiron stoplights that had first appeared in the 1920s. As a rule, the big stoplights appear two to an intersection, usually caterconer from each other, and some are equipped with additional stoplights or pedestrian control signals.
Beginning in the 1990s, variances of these posts began to appear, as retro versions of older styles such as Bishop Crooks, Corvingtons and even Type Fs began to be plopped on top of these stoplights. To me, that’s a jarring dissonance of styles. The latest development seems to be the addition of a street sign on the mast, a method pioneered elsewhere in the country on large intersection stoplights.
True departures, though, have been rare…
A simpler version of the guy-wired mast and shaft has popped up here ande there. This one, on Riveride Drive between Sakura Park and Grant’s Tomb, is still on the job. photo: Joe DeMarco
There had been a pair of these on Church Street and Park Place in Tribeca till the mid-2000s. They were replaced with the standard form.
The intersection of Nostrand Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, known locally as “The Junction,” boasted a pair of double-masted combination streetlamp/stoplights. One of them survives till today.
Some streets, such as Jamaica Avenue in Queens (here), Avenue D in Brooklyn, West 181st in Washingtn Heights, were equipped with modular style lamps/stoplights like these in the 1970s. They seem to be in the midst of a phaseout in the 2010s.
One of the keys to the Donald Deskey style lamppost is its adaptability — a single Deskey shaft is used frequently to support a bank of stoplights. Here, though, is the only instance I know of where the stoplight is affixed to the mast generally used to hang a luminaire, at Lexington Avenue and East 77th Street.